Tehran: Uranium enrichment processes continue but within internationally accepted standards

Iranian authorities packaged and dispatched a large shipment of uranium concentrate powder on Wednesday to the nuclear facility of Isfahan for additional processing. Enriched uranium has been touted by Tehran as an essential ingredient to power up their nuclear reactors. However the international community is suspicious that Tehran might enrich uranium aiming at creating nuclear warheads. Under the 14 July 2015 Iran nuclear deal, Tehran pledged to restrict the operational capabilities of its uranium enrichment programme provided that part of the sanctions regime was effectively removed. The treaty’s provisions were suspended, when the U.S. President Donald Trump decided to unilaterally withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal, accusing it of facilitating covert industrial activity by Iranian nuclear authorities. Tehran found an excuse in President Trump invocations and has carried on with its uranium enrichment activities.

On Wednesday, more than thirty tonnes of yellow cake were transferred from central Iran to the Isfahan nuclear facility, located roughly 500 kilometres south of Tehran. This appears to be the second batch of yellow cake transported to the nuclear site since June 2018, when the facility relaunched its operations. The Isfahan nuclear facility was closed for nine years before that time. Still, the transported amount of yellow cake falls within the accepted standards set by the International Atomic Energy Association (IAEA). Refining processes in the Isfahan facility are expected to reach into an enrichment percentage of approximately 3.6% and produce 300 kilograms of enriched uranium. It has to be noted at this stage that nuclear reactors require at least 5% of enriched uranium quality while nuclear warheads require more than 90% enrichment of the same material.

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